Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween!! and a story of Ednovean's past

Dramatic night sky and a full moon viewed through the pampas at Ednovean FArm
Charles took this great photo of the moon through the
 Pampass seed heads as we walked up to the stables
one night -to hear a spooky tale read on!

We started our B&B in 1991 and over the years we've met so many fascinating people - one that always sticks in my mind was - well lets call him PM. He was a tall and autocratic Italian Gentleman who, as he said "had the good fortune to have been wounded on the Russian front" he came to stay with us one Summer but missed our house when he arrived and continued along the lane but a little later i found he elderly man approaching holding a small leather suitcase and he was soon settled into his bedroom.

He joined us for supper that night and every evening afterwards and chatted about his life and adventures but on the third night he took off his glasses and started to polish them. Finally he said in his precise slightly accented English

"I tell you this now because you know I am a logical man. When I came to your house I missed you and went on along the lane instead. there i knocked on the door and there was no reply, so after a while, I took off my glasses and started to polish them -  this i like to do if I have a problem while i think. And there, in my glasses I saw the reflection of a woman with very dark hair parted in the middle but when I turned around, no one was there."

"Did we know of this woman at all?" he wanted to know.... well we could only say "No"  we didn't, the lady of that house was fair and we had never seen such a woman. he never saw her again.

Over the years PM stayed with us many times well into his advancing age and enjoyed a brisk stroll across the fields to Prussia cove most days but always returned to wondering if he could solve the riddle of the woman reflected in his glasses or even gain access to the house to see if there was a portrait of the lady in question but I knew that the then owners had very modern furniture the twist in this piece of information will be seen at the end - read on.....

There my story might have finished, if it were not for a chance e-mail that I receive around Christmas time one year, from a lady who had lived on the farm as a child and wanted to know if I was the Christine that she had known living at the house a long time ago. She wrote...............

"I used to live at Ednovean House with my family when I was 14     (in the 60's) with Mrs Phillips who had a grandaughter called     Christine (dad Jeffrey) who used to come to Ednovean house and sit     having her tea on the window seat. There used to be a huge painting     of a woman in Victorian dress on the wall. I wondered if you     were the same Christine. I used to feed the heifers in the barn on     your farm with a feeding bottle. I seem to remember the cottage     may have had a slate floor. Mrs Phillips (jeffreys mum) used to     knock on my bedroom door late at night with her silver white hair     plaited to show me some old letters wrapped in a blue ribbon and the     secret draw in her writing desk/dressing table. I used to call the     overgrown walled garden, The Secret Garden. I remember Ednovean had a     flag stoned dairy and I seem to remember a well in the     courtyard.I came to Ednovean about 10 years ago, but wasn't aware that     the farm had been developed. I was so happy to see that nothing     had been built in front of it. I used to walk through the field     to the village.It will always be a magical place for me. I     couldn't resist writing to you. I wish you every success." 

Of course i wasn't the Christine that she had known but a fascination corospondence sprang up  and for some reason i recalled the little anecdote abut the mysterious woman with dark hair that had haunted my guest PM's memory over the years. I was so surprised to receive an e-mail straight back saying yes of course she had heard of her

"Dear Christine and Charles
Thank you so much for your fascinating response. I have always remained spiritually close to Ednovean. Mrs Phillips and myself had a very special relationship, as the young and old so often do.One summer evening in particular remains a profound and gently haunting memory.She told me as we sat outside the old telephone room overlooking St. Michael s Mount on one of those magical summer evenings, that no matter where the path of life would lead me my heart would always be at Ednovean.... and that it would always call me back. It is indeed a very special place for me, for so many reasons.
As it is quite late at night now I will email you later in the week as I feel that I am able to shed some light on the Italian gentleman's experience. For the moment, if you are still in contact with him, please re-assure him that the woman he describes was very real. Yes indeed, it is the woman from the huge portrait that hung in the lounge...she had dark hair pulled back. I had seen her many times at  Ednovean and always passing at the bottom of the staircase ...late at night after I had been talking to Mrs Phillips. Sometimes she had a little lace cap on her head. Mrs Phillips said to me one night.....'You have seen her haven't you? From the day you arrived here, I knew you would'. There is much I could tell you and indeed I will. Because your guest experienced her, I am sure that you will not think me mad!"

The third and final e-mail was by far the most fascinating of course and I've omitted my correspondents name to protect her identity unless she chooses to tell you who she is of course!!

"Hello Christine & Charles

When I first e-mailed you about the portrait, what really stood out in my memory about it was the dark hair pulled back, just as your Italian gentleman described. The same dark pulled back hair was very strikingly visible when I used to see her late at night. She always carried some kind of oil lamp which cast shadows across the wall and over the big Grandfather clock which seemed to tick very loudly at night. This was situated next to a wall on the right of the stairs. There was also a very shiny brass warming pan which was hung on the wall next to the bottom of the stairs in the 'big house'.
The portrait that I speak of was about six feet tall and about four and a half feet wide. It was hung on the wall which attracted the best light as the oils used were quite dark in colour. I think the frame was of antique gold and quite elaborate. I am sure it was the mother of my Mrs Phillips. She wore a dark coloured dress which had buttons covered in material. There was some white lace around her neck and she was wearing a cameo broach which complemented the neckline.Her head was turned ever so slightly to one side. Her eyes looked very deep. I would stare at this portrait for a long time and wherever I stood in the room she always seemed to be looking at me.I went down stairs when it was a full moon because it used to illuminate the portrait if I pulled the curtains back. I was convinced that she was smiling at me. She had the same intense gaze as my Mrs Phillips who seemed to be lost in her own world at times. She would fall silent as though she was reflecting upon something that was very sad. It was at these times that she would ask me to go and get the silver backed bristle hair brush. She would spend a long time brushing my hair, and then putting a blue bow into it. I would fidget sometimes and she would say, 'Keep still child!' She was the most wonderful lady. She would tell me about the flat rock on Perranuthnoe beach that she used to picnic on in her younger days. She asked me to go to the beach one day to see if it was how she remembered it. Indeed, it was still there just as she said...and she seemed delighted. I am not sure what happened to her husband as she had been a widow for well over twenty years years. Looking back, and the letters that she would show me seem to suggest that he may have been killed in the war. I could not make out the writing very well and the ink was very faded. I do know that when we went to live with her (I have worked it out more accurately now) it was in 1959. She had not left Ednovean for well over twenty years, absolutely refusing to go even a far as the village through the field, or down the lane. It was my mother, who died at quite a young age who persuaded to go. I remember watching them both walk through the field. I went to the barn to see the newborn heifers. I kept wondering what memories the walk to the village would bring to the forefront of her memory.
One night I asked her who rode the horses on a Sunday. She said it was Leone Hall, who lived nearby. She then told me a story about the the sound of horses hooves walking in the lane late at night. She said she could here them quite distinctly, then they would suddenly stop when she went to try and see it. There was a legend in the village about a black horse that saved someone's life on the farm many many years ago, and that the horse, although long gone came back to Ednovean where it was born.
There was also some history around a male at Ednovean (perhaps a relative) who used to travel the world and light his cigars with five pound nights in the second dining area that we used. There were certainly many heavily carved tables, chairs, and wooden chests in that room.
Sadly,some years after we left the big house news came to me of a fire there, which had been very intense, and a great deal of Ednovean's history was destroyed in the flames. I have seen it as a hotel, but the imagery of how it used to be stays with me. Keep in touch
Kind Regards

My story must end now for the time being,  I'm afraid I lost touch with E and one year PM didn't come to Cornwall again but as he spent much of his year in Italy travelling restlessly we knew the day would come - he was in is early 80's when he first came to stay with us after all.  Still, One day I'm sure some more information will come my way and when it does I'll write again!!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Waiting for the storm

I climbed up the back field behind the house for a different view of
St Micheal's Mount this morning and I could already see white topped
waves breaking over her foreshore

St Micheal's mount

Then i turned the camera a little to the right to look down into Marazion

There has been an uneasy feeling for a day or two with the birds swooping over the house in tightly packed groups swinging and circling away on the breeze and the newly fallen  leaves have raced passed in little sorties along the road. How different from the other morning when Spud lounged on a garden bench in the car park soaking up the last rays of sunshine

Spud has spotted a new opportunity in a bench brought
 into the yard for mending

It makes a perfectly cosy cat look out

Just right to watch the world go by in fact

So this evening the horses ar in their stables, the garden pots have been moved to safer positions and I've spent some time digging out the drain from
Sophie and her daughter share a stable

Danni busy with his supper

A sunset earlier in the week
the lane so now we can only wait see what happens. Be careful out there

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Around a circle

Walking around the Garden with Ian the other day he commented that the
circle was no longer there so......

We've had some lovely afternoons this week and tinkered here and there in the gardens here at Ednovean. Ian's timely reminder about the textured circle that Charles used to mow in the lawn gave us pause for thought and so one has been added to lift the garden for the Autumn season and maybe invite our guests to walk the Labyrinth again! The temptation was though, to move an urn lost in the undergrowth back to centre stage - a difficult undertaking not made any easier by the earnest help of Spud Cat chief garden inspector....

I think that is the correct position

Better check the base though

Yes very nice

A view from the Italian Garden back over the lawn

Just time for a spruce up after all of that work

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Between gates

The entrance gate at Ednovean Farm

The lower garden gate out into the fields

Rather like the seasons we are between two gates the more substantial gate into the car park besides the stables, topped by a whimsical stone ball and softened by the textures of the foliage. Here i the morning we can see the sun rising across the lane but the yard has been sunken down into the hillside over the centuries so the first tendrils of sunshine reach here as the morning begins to warm. Each morning now brings our morning routine a little bit nearer to the dawn and sometimes I look up to watch a sea gull pass overhead, the sun flashing on its wingtips as it tosses itself restlessly against the wind, as I stand still in the shadow caught in a twilight and sheltered by the high bank and hedge. By contrast the garden gate that leads out into the field is a simple affair where the horses like to gather to watch us work sometimes and the guests visit to look out over the valley and take photos of the view over the village and bay.

Our life goes on between the gates, sometimes the sunset is stunning filling the horizon beyond with a fiery light, some days a last glimpse of summer to enjoy and steal a few minutes to sit in the sun and dream again of the the garden and the plans for its life. the changes we could make or maybe just think of the work we could do! But really a garden is a timeless world of seasons set comfortably between two gates and settling down to weather the winter and welcome the spring

Sunset over Mounts Bay from Ednovean Farm

newly emerging Pampas seed heads casting shadows on
the courtyard walls

A tantalizing sliver of blue sea beyond a Greek pot
set in the courtyard

The garden is full of the drama of the big grasses at the

So all in all we enjoyed the garden ourselves for a couple of brief hours the other day sitting over lunch and trying out the steamer chairs and looked at the warm sun through half closed eyes - just for a while of course!

The gardeners rest - Charles took a break beside his newly mown
Spud Cat prefers a little bit more shade and tucks himself up under  a bench
in the courtyard

The box parterre in the main courtyard this week

Sunday, 6 October 2013

To dally with a sunset

A special sunset at Ednovean Farm that i enjoyed with
my little friend Spud

I always find the sunset a special time of day and you may have noticed spend some time savoring the moment! Spotting one the other evening i raced out with the camera to find my little friend Spud already positioned on the garden gate communing with the mares as the munched their hayledge in the last rays of sunshine for the day.

I snapped quickly as i crossed the lawn knowing Spud
would only linger for a few minutes if he knew the camera
was turned towards him!

The garden glowed in the last warm rays of light

and the sun reflected off of Mounts Bay

In the valley below the village church stood proud
into the dusk

A moment of harmony over the garden in the beautiful light

A last fabulous flare over Mounts bay

The Blue room basking in the last rays of sunlight

Look carefully and you'll see a little boat across the bay

and so it's good night from Spud and me until next week

We live at Ednovean Farm Perranuthnoe in the far West of Cornwall on a small farm with eleven horses one cat and we hope six happy house guests!

Then we shall begin....!

Late sunshine on the sweep of lawns leading on
into autumn

"Are you sitting comfortable then we shall begin" those half remembered words from childhood radio lead us into our first blog of the real Autumn. Those days when the leaves start to gather along the side of the road, still crisp and sharply shaped and the berries decorate the hedgerows and the shops start to shyly put just a few Christmas goodies around the shops must be called the beginning of Autumn the anticipation of the end of the year. But here in the Ednovean Garden the foliage is still fresh and green and the Pampass grass's are leading a merry dance towards the sun and there is still a sense of growth and anticipation in the air with each day to come - maybe it is the balmy weather we have been having of late but I for one have settled down to enjoy our curious mid air season of "summumn"

The Gunnera has enjoyed the spring like showers

The old gate post that makes a fairly convincing focal
point at the end of a vista

Early morning and the day is full of promise

The Parterre in the courtyard beside the house

Spud contemplating his days "work"!

Early morning here and Spud claiming the first rays of
sunshine to creep across the terrace

Every cat needs a throne don't you think!?

We live at Ednovean farm with eleven horse a cat called Spud and hopefully six happy house guests!